Highlights of the last three decades of the Puckeridge
by Mike Ashby


 Date:     28th March 2015         Going:   GOOD TO FIRM

Races:        6       Runners:   27      Winning Favourites:     2 out of 6    

A James Ferguson riding double was a notable feature of the day’s racing with COLONEL IAIN taking the opening Horseheath Hunts Club Members race and RONNIE LAWSON the Intermediate event. These were the two most convincing wins of the day regarding winning distances and both were trained by John Ferguson.

John’s great friend, Nick Wright, also enjoyed welcoming back a winner when his IT WAS ME overturned the favourite for the Ladies’ Open, Sharp Suit. Carey Williamson who gets on so well with Nick Wright’s consistent horse once again provided her valuable assistance, from the saddle.

EMPIRE BUILDER proved too resolute for another beaten favourite Ravethebrave winning the Men’s Open by half a length in the hands of George Greenock.


EMPIRE BUILDER:   Bay  gelding by Brian Boru out of Fair Draw

Has an excellent record in points and has not been disgraced when competing in hunter ‘chases when finishing 3rd in an event at Cheltenham in April’15 and followed this with a 6th place in the John Corbet Cup Novice Hunters’ Chase at Stratford, the following month.



Date:   26th  March 2005             Going: GOOD, GOOD TO FIRM (in places)

Races:          6               Runners:    32          Winning Favourites:    4 out of 6

 David Kemp had to work hard in the saddle to force MADMIDGE home, in the Men’s Open. The pairing had three lengths to spare at the finish, over the one-paced Dunmanus Bay, who they headed three fences out. David was then beaten in to second place, on Baron Halebop, in the following race, the Restricted, by EUROGAEDEL expertly ridden by Rupert Stearn who collared the runner-up on the run-in to lead close home.

BARON BERNARD stayed on well up the Horseheath uphill finishing straight to take the Intermediate, to the great delight of the Chinery family, owner /father Aubrey and rider/ son Paul.


MADMIDGE :   Bay or Brown gelding by Jendali out of  No Rejection 

Possessed an excellent winning ratio in the 2005 season, winning five out of eight races. This was not one of the gelding’s better performances considering his exceptional record but he always gave his group of enthusiastic owners some enjoyable days with his consistent form 



Date:    8th April 1995                Going:   FIRM

Races:          7        Runners:     30     Winning Favourites:    5 out of 7

Firm ground conditions restricted the number of runners but there were some very close finishes involved in most of the races despite the lack of contestants. In the opening three runner Hunt race, SANTIETOWN and Alex Harvey only just held on by a head, to land the odds, from Linlithgow Palace with the other runnerhaving exited after a circuit. Tim McCarthy rode a double on SHANNON GLEN ( Men’s Open ) and STAR ACTOR ( Intermediate). Both contests had four runners apiece and produced two close finishes, in both races.

In the young horse Open Maiden , the finish prompted a stewards’ enquiry regarding possible interference on the run-in. However it was deemed accidental and the result remained unalteredwith ONEFORUS and Tom Hills, a Kent raider, getting the better of  Tim Moore and Scout.


SANTIETOWN:    Chestnut gelding  by Bonne Noel out ofIrish Ville

Was winning here at age of thirteen and his overall appearances on the racecourse had been limited throughout his career. He had achieved three career wins, prior to this victory, but his form during the 1995 season had been moderate, to say the least, having failed to finish on three occasions from five starts.



Date:  13th April 1985             Going:     GOOD

Races:    7    Runners :  71     Winning Favourites:    No SP’s available            Plenty of runners for this Puckeridge & Thurlow meeting run on surprisingly good ground for the

time of the year. Winners were equally spread throughout the riding participants with Don Cantillon enduring a ‘seconditis’ type afternoon. Although he had won the opening Members’ race, run over natural country, Don then finished second on three occasions. NEWNHAM and Simon Andrews touched off Don’s mount Henfold Cottage in the Hunt race. Rock Fall had to give second best to GENERAL RULE and George Cooper in the Men’s Open whilst the suffering Mr.Cantillon and Ballyned were denied first place by the small margin of a head when Gurney Sheppard and

GENERAL BARTON landed Division One of the Adjacent Hunt’s Maiden.

Michael Swinburn, brother of Derby winning jockey Walter, owned, trained and rode PULSE to victory in the Restricted Open, drawing clear from two out and posting a winning margin of eight lengths.


GENERAL RULE:      Bay gelding by Spartan General out of Bright Daisy

A very useful gelding owned by Ollie Vaughan-Jones who won five out of seven starts in the 1985 season. Ollie rode him on his opening win of the season, at Cottenham, but due to injury he was unable to continue the partnership and George Cooper ably deputised for the remaining outings which included a third place in a hunter ‘chase at Chepstow.